Monday, September 27, 2010

The Lord (okay, Lady) of the Dance

My three daughters have all taken dance classes at the local studio. My oldest began as a pink-leotarded kindergartener and finished up strong with some raging hip hop. My second daughter developed a fondness for tap, which was good, since she is in every school musical. Tap comes in real handy for her. My youngest, a little gangsta girl, yo, also took hip hop for a while.

The studio belongs to a remarkable woman, a former dancer and mother of three grown daughters of her own. Her oldest recently retired from a world reknowned dance company where she was a featured performer for a number of years. Together, mother and daughter run the show, day in and day out, going on 25 or so years, now. The mom is about sixty five years old now, but has the lithe dancer's body of a lucky 25-year-old. Her posture is perfect, her severe white hair (channeling Meryl Streep in 'The Devil Wears Prada')frames her face like a helmet. Although officially retired, she retains an active emeritus status. She is there every day, still teaching the youngest students and energetically leading step aerobics classes most weekday mornings.

At the end-of-year recital, she always comes out, mid show, to introduce and say a public farewell to her graduating senior students. This year was my daughter's turn. After her spotlight hip hop number (awesome!) my sweaty girl was taken by the hand and introduced to the packed crowd as one of those special students who came as a tiny red-haired five-year-old, and was leaving a brilliant, honors student, red-haired young woman. The teacher cried a little.

Today was the first day of dance class for the new season. My daughter is away at school. Her sister went back to tap, this year an accelerated class, and already has plans on dancing in the upcoming fall school musical. She has a dancer's legs and a dancer's posture. Her teacher, a former student of the owner, and a seasoned professional herself, used to tutor my son in math. It's a small town that way.

I don't know how to dance at all. In another life I would like to learn. Even from the pink leotard on. It is a language I admire, but do not speak.